Four Pillars: Exercise, Part 3

A few final thoughts on exercise. Bear with me.

Beyond doing a single workout each day, I also recommend finding ways to stay active throughout the day. For example, squeeze in some pushups and situps during a mid-morning or afternoon break. Or doing some stretching. And these exercise breaks are immensely useful when you’re feeling less motivated / lower energy (no caffeine or sugar required!). And yes, I know what you’re thinking: “I can’t just drop and do push-ups in my grad student cubicle farm! What will my office mates think?!?” Ya know what? Here’s what they will think, perhaps behind a bemused smile: “Wow, they are bad-ass, doing pushups in the office!”

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Four Pillars: Exercise, Part 2

Guess what? I have a bunch more to say about exercise. Shocking, I know.

An example of a highly effective exercise routine: first thing in the morning do a 1+ mile run starting at your front door, perhaps going through a local park. When you get back, some push-ups, situps, and burpees [link] can give you plenty of strength training on top of your run. After that, a quick shower and you’re out the door. 

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Four Pillars: Exercise

For the next few weeks we’ll shift our focus to more general productivity fundamentals, which can help you in a wide variety of areas within a graduate program.

There are what I like to call “Four Pillars” that are key to a productive and happy life: exercise, diet, sleep, and mindfulness practice. Let’s start with exercise.

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Tips on Performing a Literature Review

Focus on relevant journal papers, textbook chapters, and to a lesser extent conference papers. Odds are you will learn more of what you need for your research from these sources than your graduate classes. Textbooks tend to be more polished and vetted, but they usually offer less cutting-edge content. Of course, you may not need cutting-edge content, especially when building up your understanding of the fundamentals. Conference papers are the opposite: they tend to be the latest-and-greatest work in the research area, but typically they are less polished and verified via peer review. Journal papers are the optimal balance: good peer review (for a strong journal), and relatively state-of-the-art.

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Biggest Mistakes Made By PhD Students

What are the biggest mistakes made by PhD students? Well, there are too many to try to list in a single article, but there are some general themes. And in fact, they align well with the mistakes described in many classic personal effectiveness guides. 

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